B’nai B’rith International played a pivotal role in a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would recognize the nearly 1 million Jews displaced from their homes in Arab nations due to the Middle East conflict.
Under the bill, the president and other government officials would be urged to note Jewish refugees each time a reference to Palestinian refugees is made at international events.
This new bill takes a 2008 House resolution on the matter a step further, requiring the president to report on how the original resolution is being implemented. The State Department would be required to issue a report every two years explaining what the administration has done to advance the issue and offering recommendations for future action.
The plight of Jewish refugees is often overlooked. Jews living in Arab countries have had their human rights violated, their property and businesses confiscated and have been displaced from their homes. By most estimates, fewer than 5,000 Jews remain in Arab countries.
Not one of the more than 100 United Nations resolutions that refer to Palestinian refugees mentions Jewish refugees.
“We want to ensure that the United States makes the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab nations a priority in multilateral discussions about the Middle East conflict. Any time refugee issues are discussed in the context of the peace negotiations, the rights of Jewish refugees need to be given their proper place,” B’nai B’rith International Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Fusfield said.
B’nai B’rith wishes to thank the sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and the co-sponsors: Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-Fla.) and Rep. Bob Turner (D-N.Y.).
B’nai B’rith International, in cooperation with the umbrella group Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, will continue to work with lawmakers to move this legislation through Congress.